[News] Members of Argentine Delegation in Bolivia Tell the Horror They Recorded

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Dec 2 11:07:49 EST 2019


  Members of Argentine Delegation in Bolivia Tell the Horror They
  Recorded (Coup Repression)

December 2, 2019

*They collected testimonies of disappearances, murders, rapes. And they 
were threatened by the de facto government*

*“They opened Pandora’s box and hatred came out,” they write. Government 
Minister Arturo Murillo publicly threatened them: “Be careful, we are 
watching* you.”

“This government has unleashed a huge racial hatred. They opened 
pandora’s box and a thousand demons came out who are expressing 
themselves in situations of profound violence,” says jurist Luis Arias, 
one of the members of the Argentine delegation that traveled to Bolivia. 
On Thursday, a group of forty social and human rights leaders arrived in 
the neighboring country with the aim of preparing a record of the deaths 
and abuses suffered by the population since the coup d’etat against Evo 
Morales was consummated.

Disappearances, murders, arbitrary detentions, rapes, torture and 
hospitals that refuse to take care of those wounded by the repression 
were some of the events recorded during the first day of work. They were 
held and kicked at the airport by a pro-coup mob. Then the Minister of 
Government of Añez, Arturo Murillo, came out to threaten them publicly: 
“Be careful, we are watching you.”

 From the moment they stepped on Bolivian soil, the delegation -composed 
of Juan Grabois (CTEP), the lawyer Roberto Carlés, Pablo Pimentel and 
Mauricio Rojas (APDH), Victoria Freire (Observatory of Gender and Public 
Policies of the City), Daniel Catalano (ATE), Marianela Navarro (FOL), 
Sergio Smietniansky (CADEP), among many others – had to face the 
attacks, threats and misgivings of the de facto government of Jeanine Añez.

RELATED CONTENT: Bolivia: 31 Dead During Repression 

On Thursday night, the members of the delegation arrived at the airport 
of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, to connect with another flight to La Paz. 
Upon arrival, the Bolivian police detained them, separated them from the 
rest of the travelers and identified, by name and surname, 12 of the 
members of the entourage and took them to another room to interrogate 
them. “They were waiting for us,” Carles said and added: “They selected 
the people whose names had appeared in the press and subjected them to 
an interrogation.” “They started asking us about our plans in Bolivia, 
where we were going to go and who we were going to visit. They treated 
us with great hostility and after a few hours they let us go,” said 
Arias, who was in this group.

On the way to the boarding area, they were accosted by a gang of ten 
people in civilian clothes. “We did not know if they were shock forces 
or people linked to Luis Fernando Camacho. They began to insult us, to 
threaten us, to ask us what we were doing in Bolivia. They called us 
‘communist gauchos’ and ‘homosexuals.’ They made reference to the 
cartoneros, it was clear they wanted to let us know that they knew who 
we were and provoke us to react. The place was deserted: they had taken 
over the area,” said Carlés. At one point, they started pushing and 
hitting them, the ATE Secretary General, Daniel Catalano, was kicked. 
“From the apparel they wore, we assume they were civilian police forces. 
Meanwhile, the uniformed police were there witnessing all the harassment 
and doing nothing,” Catalano said.

After this reception from the de facto government there was another more 
worrisome event: “Walk carefully, we are watching you,” the government 
minister told them through statements to the press, calling them “those 
foreigners who are coming to try to burn the country.” “The first false 
step that they take to try to make terrorism or sedition is going to be 
met with the police,” he threatened. After these statements, some of the 
members of the delegation visited the Argentine embassy in Bolivia to 
ask for protection; they were granted some cars to travel in. “We are 
completely guarded all the time,” Carlés said.

RELATED CONTENT: With the Right-Wing Coup in Bolivia Nearly Complete, 
the Junta is Hunting Down the Last Remaining Dissidents 

Despite these inconveniences, the delegation continued with the agenda 
and spent the entire day in El Alto collecting testimonies from 
relatives of victims who suffered in their own flesh the violence 
exercised by the security forces. “The stories are frightening,” Arias 
told Pagina/12 . There are reports of disappearances, arbitrary 
detentions – among which are the case of three young people with Downs 
syndrome -, torture of children, murders as a result of repressive 
actions by police forces, injuries by lead bullets, fires, among other 

Much of the survey was carried out in the San Francisco de Asís Church, 
where vigils for the deaths caused by the repression in Senkata had been 
held. “The situation is very terrible, families report not being treated 
in hospitals. Many of the wounded are in homes because when they go to 
hospitals they are charged with terrorism and sedition,” said Marianela 
Navarro, delegate of the Organizations in Struggle Front. According to 
the commission, it is not only the security forces who are attacking the 
population, but there are numerous institutions that are also 
reproducing the racist hatred that goes through the de facto government 
violence. “Public hospitals do not want to treat the wounded and the 
public defenders do not want to defend the victims. There is a deep 
racial hatred that is directed especially against the most vulnerable 
sectors and women, ” said Arias.

The commission also identified that there is a deep cruelty against 
“women with polleras” (traditional indigenous skirt). There have been 
numerous cases of rapes and sexual assaults against indigenous women and 
girls, attacked while alive and after their death. At the same time, 
there have been complaints that claim to have seen mutilated and 
dismembered bodies.

“People are very much in need of being heard, that the world know the 
truth of what is happening, because here there is a huge silencing,” 
said Arias, referring to the silence of the Bolivian media, which played 
an important role in the legitimization of the de facto government. 
“They ask us for help, they ask us for justice. What they have suffered 
has been virtually ignored by the international community. And they feel 
alone,” Carlés concluded.

*Featured image: The commission collected testimonies from victims and 
family members. Image: Pablo Añelli*

Source URL: Pagina/12 

Translated by JRE/EF

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